WORKSHOP LEADER – JEMMA KHAN
Jemma Kahn is a theatre and film maker born and based in Cape Town. She studied Fine Art and Drama at Wits University. Shortly after graduating, she spent two years in Japan which has had a strong impact on the content and form of her work.
Her primary theatre focus is Japanese kamishibai or ‘paper theatre’, a 12th Century highly visual storytelling medium. The kamishibai as it is practiced today evolved from a street theatre performance form that involves a narrator who travels around the small towns of Japan with sets of illustrated boards that are placed in a miniature stage-like device and narrated by changing each image to illustrate scenes.
Kahn has been creating and performing kamishibai since 2009. To date there have been over 600 original drawings produced by her and other South African artists that are used in the performances. All her kamishibai shows are intensely collaborative, bringing together a broad range of South African writers, illustrators and directors. Since 2012 Kahn has been developing a stylistic shift in the medium. The story boxes in her shows have developed to include panoramic images, composite images and boxes that pivot from landscape to portrait. At the time of writing, Kahn is the only person in the world to have pushed the medium of kamishibai in these directions.
Her shows include The Epicene Butcher and Other Stories for Consenting Adults (2012), We Didn’t Come to Hell for the Croissants (2015), in bocca al lupo (2016) and The Borrow Pit (2018). They have been performed at Edinburgh Fringe, Brighton Festival, Venice Biennale as well as in Holland and Australia. In 2018 Kahn was awarded the Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Theatre.